Asteroid watch: Gigantic 1640 foot space rock just flew past Earth

    Russian astronomers have spotted a 1640 feet wide asteroid which was headed for Earth and just flew past the planet.
    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Oct 03 2022, 10:26 IST
    NASA shares asteroid strike images
    1/6 NASA’s unique experiment to smash a spacecraft into a small asteroid in the world’s first-ever in-space test for planetary defense has been captured by two of NASA’s Great Observatories, the James Webb Space Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope. (NASA)
    2/6 These telescopes observed the same celestial object at the same time during this historical event. The DART mission was tested on the asteroid Dimorphous. (Pixabay)
    3/6 The coordinated Hubble and Webb observations showed a vast cloud of dust expanding from Dimorphos and Didymos as soon as the spacecraft crashed into it. (AFP)
    4/6 NASA’s James Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) captured glimpses four hours after the DART spacecraft hit the target asteroid. It shows plumes of material appearing as wisps streaming away from the centre of where the impact took place. (PTI)
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    5/6 The captured glimpses by the world's premier space science observatory James Webb allow it to peer deeper into the universe than ever before. These images are in red because the Telescope operates primarily in the infrared spectrum. (Reuters)
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    6/6 While the Hubble Telescope captured the moment from 22 minutes, five hours, and eight hours after impact. It shed light on the expanding spray of matter from where DART hit on the asteroid's left. (NASA)
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    Asteroid 2022 SE37 is one of the biggest asteroids to fly by Earth this year. (Pixabay)

    Although NASA has successfully completed its first asteroid deflection test, there is no way as of yet to determine whether the asteroid was actually deflected off its path. The space agency will determine that using the data collected during and after the collision. To help in better understand the impact, the European Space Agency has already sent a spacecraft named Hera to the Dimorphos asteroid to collect data and observe the impact site. Meanwhile, Russian astronomers have observed a colossal asteroid which just flew past Earth on September 30.

    Key details about Asteroid 2022 SE37

    According to a report from experts at Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics of Russia's Academy of Sciences, Asteroid 2022 SE37 is nearly 1640 feet wide, which roughly translates to half a kilometer. That is bigger than even the Roman Colosseum! The asteroid was spotted by the 25th telescope in the village of Kochevanchik and the 50cm telescope from Kuban State University in Russia.

    The asteroid made its close approach to Earth on September 30, travelling at a speed of 66780 kilometers per hour, according to NASA.

    Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics already confirmed before the flyby that although this asteroid was huge in size, it did not pose any threat to Earth now or in the foreseeable future. So, all of us can breathe a sigh of relief while NASA works on its planetary defense system.

    ESA's Hera Spacecraft

    European Space Agency's Hera spacecraft will observe the impact caused by the collision of DART spacecraft and Dimorphos asteroid. ESA has already launched its Hera spacecraft which will travel to the same asteroid to observe the impact.

    The Hera spacecraft will fly to the asteroid to survey the aftermath of impact and gather information such as the size of impact crater, the mass of the asteroid and its make-up and internal structure using its CubeSAT satellite to conduct a radar probe of the asteroid after the collision.

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    First Published Date: 03 Oct, 10:04 IST
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